In Canada it snows. Who knew?


Just to be different I’m not going to rail about the weather today.

No, today I’m going to rail about the inability of so many people to *cope* with the weather. It’s that kind of I-have-no-clue-how-to-drive-in-the-snow attitude that made southern Ontario mediocre.

I was in meetings most of the afternoon yesterday. I was vaguely aware of the forecast for five centimetres of snow in Toronto. I didn’t look out a window most of the day and when it did finally occur to me to have gander outside it was dark.

The street was wet, but bare. There was some snow on the sidewalks but nothing startling. This was about 545p or so. Later I made my way to Union Station after seeing a fair number of hysterical photos from car traffic on Twitter. I listened to the radio as I walked – the DVP was a parking lot. Conditions were slick around the GTA but things were far, far worse around London and north – where the lake snow tends to be a serious issue.

When I got to the GO station the trains were all on time but there were numerous bus cancellations, which meant that the roads were in bad shape. I figured if I can get to Oakville, I only have  a five minute drive home. How bad could it be?

Answer: Bad. Continue reading

Buffaloed


If we want to complain about the cold here in Toronto, Buffalo says please shut up.

The people of Buffalo have agreed with me on one point — yes, winter is here — and no doubt disagree vehemently on another: we have have nothing to complain about here.

The images coming out of Buffalo really are arresting. Six feet, seven feet even eight feet of snow. Entire houses buried. Highways covered such that you couldn’t even tell tell there was a highway there.

And it’s not even close to being over.

Lake effect snow is cruel — an hour away in Oakville we have scattered clouds and occasional light snow while Buffalo endures a pounding the likes of which few major cities have ever seen.

Incredibly they played the NHL game last night — mostly because San Jose was already there and it is that team’s only trip east this season. More worrying for the city though is Sunday’s pending NFL home date with the New York Jets.

Ralph Wilson Stadium is encased in a shell of snow over the field, seats and parking lots that is upwards of four feet deep on average. The team isn’t at the stadium because there’s a travel ban and they can’t play the game in New York because the Jets share a stadium with the Giants and the Giants have a home game Sunday. Continue reading

We have to insist on better


Maybe I’m having a bad day in a bad week in a bad month. Or maybe something inside has just made me suddenly more aware of certain things.

But everywhere I turn for the last few days I see really graphic examples of truly bad behaviour by men. And make no mistake, the stuff jumping out at me is always by men and it’s always bad.

It’s depressing as hell because I think I stupidly let myself live in some kind of cocoon where I deluded myself into thinking that maybe some things were getting better — that maybe, overall, men are treating women better and being a little more sensitive to seeing women as equals — different (don’t get me started) but equal.

And the preponderance of evidence lately is, nope. Wrong. Dead wrong. Still riding the Wrong Express into Wrongsville to catch the late show and the Wrong Wrong Wrong multiplex.

Let me depress everyone in the Y chromosome universe for a minute. We are all losers. The women are allowed to follow at a safe distance. Continue reading

The first day of winter


The calendar may say it is Nov 17, but I will remember today as the first day of winter.

Up and out the door at the usual early hour, exiting the garage into the snow and rain mix and the ever-encroaching and long-lingering morning darkness. It is to celebrate and mourn our Canadian-ness all in one icy breath.

The temperature was not punitively low but -1 with wet snow and rain and darkness feels like -25 at 640a. Too wet. Too damp. Too raw. Too cold. Too dark. Too early.

A younger version of me might mock these words as the tormented lament of an old man. To that I say yes, an older man’s lament. And I would poke a cold, boney finger into my younger self’s chest and remind him that he wasn’t up and out the door for the hateful GO train experience. So just shut up.

The calendar says winter is a month or more away. I say that cold, icy prick is sitting like a grinning, drunken fool in the frozen seat of my car next to me, relishing my discomfort and reminding us that this, friends, is just the beginning.

Winter started today. Continue reading

Short snappers at 80,000 feet


I’m going to end the week with the usual short snappers. Try to keep up. There will be a quiz later.

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The minor peewee Blackhawks find themselves perilously close to the top of the standings these days after a 5-4 win on Tuesday night that I forgot to mention. The game should not have been that close at the end but a late goal by the other guys made it more interesting than people of my vintage prefer.

The boys are starting to show more consistent effort. Still lots of things to work on. Practice tomorrow morning.

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Last night I was at the Hockey Hall of Fame for the screening of Historica Canada’s latest Heritage Minute on the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons, the first hockey champions of the winter Olympics.

The event coincided with the official lighting ceremony for the atrium lights in the Grand Hall of Brookfield Place – basically the same building – so there were literally thousands of people all milling around in the Grand Hall, which one has to move through to get to the HHOF.

I was only there for an hour but it was fun. Continue reading

Hockey 24-7-365? Maybe not


I know that occasionally some of my readers come here in the hope (usually in vain) of learning something that applies to their own family’s particular adventures in minor hockey.

That’s because for better or worse in our house we’ve been there and done that, or know someone who has. There are not a lot of great places on the web that aggregate answers or discussions to questions that are of genuine interest to parents trying to to the best for their kids in sports.

And that’s because almost no one is qualified to be “an expert.” And that certainly includes me, too. But what I can do, occasionally, is say well, this happened to us once and here’s how we handled it and it worked out okay, or, it was a colossal failure. Those are generally the two options. People call me or email and ask questions. I’m flattered to think I might help and always caution: you mileage may vary.

The post I have written here long ago about tips for parents whose kids want to be rep hockey players is still read about 200 times a week (the updated v2.0 is here), surfaced for frantic parents using search engines as they scour the internet for “how does a player make a rep hockey team” and other similar things.

That makes me think there may well be a book to be written on such a topic, although honestly its all been said before, and better, by others. But it also makes me think there’s at least a follow-up blog post to be written about What I Would Have Done Differently.  Continue reading

Sportswriters are the funnest


A key element of good sports writing is having sports writers who don’t take themselves too seriously. Ideally this should apply to journalists in every corner of a newsroom because I have never met a journalist who was as important as whatever it was he or she was covering.

I’ve met (and know) more than a couple who think they are more important than a lot of their targets, but let’s not waste time on that.

Okay, okay. A little time. Generally, TV reporters — especially the network types — are the highest-risk category for big egos. They make big money, they have clothes allowances and so, yeah. Important. And some columnists. And automotive writers.

I once heard a TV reporter actually say to a flight attendant, “Do you know who I am?” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she regretted it but she said it. And because me and the other 15 or 20 journalists who heard her say it are mature professionals, we all naturally immediately said, in one voice: “Ooooooooooooooooooooo” the way you might if your older sister threatened to tell mom something and you were projecting that you really didn’t give a shit.

And just FYI, also because we were mature professionals, we never mentioned it again. Much. Which is to say, we did. Often. Don’t bother asking. The reporter left the business years ago. Continue reading

Remembrance


Perhaps the only good thing that came of last month’s attack on an unarmed reservist at Canada’s national war memorial is an increased awareness around what that monument serves to remind us of, every day.

I will not make a preachy speech on that matter. I fully believe that Remembrance Day is a national commemoration best marked with millions of individual acts of reflection. Everyone should remember as they see fit.

In my home province of Nova Scotia, today is a holiday. Many — if not most — kids will sleep through the 11a hour, I suppose. But when I was in school the veterans visited in the days leading to Nov 11 and we learned first hand what we were remembering.

In Ontario, today is a work day — not completely like other days, but not much different. Many municipalities held remembrance services on Sunday so that people who will be at work today could attend.  Continue reading

Back to the grind


I’m back. It wasn’t all just hanging around Peggy’s Cove, Historic Properties and the Dal Tigers, ya know. But we did do all those things, too.

We had several decent meals out and saw a lot of my folks and three hockey games.

We bought a lot of groceries and dropped Pad off at the library a lot. I mean, a lot. If it’s a ruse, he’s playing it brilliantly but I actually think he is studying that much.

And more generally, since I have no great narrative to unspool I think I’ll just try to capture some of the last week via the LazyBlogMethod™ — short snappers . . .

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On our visit to Halifax we learned we have some great friends.

On Oct 31, we went to the first of three Dal games and got to see the Tigers upend the Universite de Moncton 4-2. My parents were there – the first time they ever saw Pad play – as well as the friends we were staying with in Halifax. Continue reading

Short snappers, at altitude.


Since I’m not altogether sure I’ll post tomorrow I’ll take advantage of the peace and quiet at 30,000 feet and knock off some end-of-week short snappers now.
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Two weeks ago I had an incredibly vivid dream about a lottery ticket and dreamt I won $792,000. The amount was very specific. The numbers on the ticket in my dream were not.

Nonetheless I had actually bought a 649 ticket on the day of my dream. And it was one of the those rare occasions — rare to me at least — where I remembered the dream.

So as you might imagine, when I woke up and recalled the dream, that 649 ticket came into my brain pretty fast. I won’t apologize — I was excited to check it.

Trouble is, I lost the ticket. And that made me all the more convinced that I had hit a jackpot. Perhaps not *the* jackpot, but a jackpot nonetheless.

Continue reading

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